Catching up to the Ruby Seadragon: new species raises new questions

first_imgThe ruby seadragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea) avoided scientific detection for so long due to its deepwater habitat and the fact that bodies changed color after they perished.The discovery has raised new questions about the evolution of seadragons.Researchers don’t know how threatened the ruby seadragon is, but have petitioned the government for proactive protections. In April 2016 at the Recherche Archipelago, just south of Western Australia’s coast, the ruby seadragon’s time as a science fugitive was about to end. There, Greg Rouse, a professor of marine biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, his PhD Student Josefin Stiller, also conducting research at Scripps, and Nerida Wilson, a senior research scientist from the Western Australian Museum were taking a few days’ respite from scuba diving for their usual syngnathid subjects, the weedy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) and the leafy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus). Instead, the trio was hoping the swell might subside enough for a remotely operated underwater vehicle, or ROV, to descend. And, if the place and time was right, to capture the first images of a species never before seen alive.“It was a very exciting moment,” Stiller told Mongabay, describing the anticipation that day. “We were all very agitated. It had been over a year of imagining what the species may look like.”The existence of this third seadragon species, Phyllopteryx dewysea, wasn’t known until 2014 when Stiller serendipitously discovered that the DNA from a tissue clipping she was analyzing didn’t match the profile of the two known seadragons.In 2007, a biodiversity survey trawled a ruby seadragon with a brood of eggs attached to his tail. The Western Australian Museum sent Stiller a clipping of this male’s tail, which unexpectedly lead to the discovery of Phyllopteryx dewysea. Photo copyright: Western Australian Museum.The DNA ended up belonging to a new seadragon species, a little thicker than the other two and colored a resplendent red, interrupted only by vertical bars of pink extending up its sides. But the ruby’s conspicuous color belies its furtive nature. Even in the rare instances where it was found dead – either washed up on an Australian beach or caught in a trawler – it was thought to be a common seadragon. These preserved specimens – one of which dates to 1919 – lost their color quickly after death allowing the species to avoid detection for nearly a century.Part of the ruby seadragon’s elusiveness was due to the depths at which they live. Indeed, when the expedition’s camera-equipped ROV reached the vicinity of the ruby seadragon, it was 50 meters below the surface – well beyond the usual depths of the leafy and weedy seadragons and certainly below the range of most scuba divers. At these depths, the red renders a dull brown shade, allowing the animal to better hide in its sandy habitat.On the fourth day of the expedition, the ROV finally came across their target. The ruby seadragon was due for its close up.The 30-minute sighting revealed two ruby seadragons, “turning backwards and forwards to hold position in the surge,” hanging around sponges and similar “large objects,” according to a paper published in Marine Biodiversity Records by the researchers. The video also reveals surprising differences between this new species and the other two.For example, the ROV camera captured a habitat very unlike the lush seagrass and kelp landscape that weedies and leafies love. In the video, the ruby seadragon floats just above a sandy ocean floor populated by sponges and other stationary animals. This vastness helps explain why the ruby seadragon lacks the flowing, leaf-like flourishes that the other seadragons rely on for camouflage.“In the sparse habitat they occupy, appendages would serve little purpose as camouflaging agents and could add significant costs in drag or fluid resistance, particularly in strong surge,” the authors write in the paper.Compare the weedy seadragon (left) and the leafy seadragon (right), who boast appendages that allow them to hide in dense vegetation. Conversely, the ruby seadragon has no such structures. Photo courtesy of: Greg Rouse, Josefin Stiller, and Nerida Wilson.However, some of the ruby’s anatomical features elicit more questions than answers. The encounter shows the two seadragons curling their tails, which the study interprets as an ability to grab onto objects “to stop from being swept off” its deep reef habitat during ocean surges. Weedies and leafies don’t have this ability, but closely related pipefish genera, like Solegnathus and Syngnathoides, do. Before this finding, it was assumed that the seadragon’s ancestors had lost this characteristic, leaving all living seadragon species without a curling tail. But now, the ruby seadragon’s curling tail raises questions about their evolutionary history. Did all seadragons indeed lose the trait, only for it to evolve in the ruby seadragon later? Or is the ruby seadragon carrying the same prehensile ability that its ancestors had?Perhaps the most vital question now concerns their protection. Reports from Dragon Search, a program that helped monitor seadragon sightings, call attention to “multiple contaminants” such as sewage, erosion, and stormwater runoff radiating into the ocean from South and Western Australia. Poor water quality is especially notable in marine habitats surrounding cities. Tracking the populations of seadragons themselves is no easy feat, so conservation groups can’t quite say how seadragon numbers have changed as a result of city-borne pollution.“[Seadragons] often occur in rather remote parts of Australia where SCUBA diving takes a lot of effort,” Stiller said.What scientists do know is that the seagrass meadows and kelp reefs where leafy and weedy seadragons live have been disappearing for at least two decades, putting the two species in the IUCN’s Near Threatened category.“All three species are specialists in their habitats,” Stiller explained. “The common and leafy seadragons use kelp as shelter; the ruby lives among sponges. These habitats need to be healthy in order to have healthy populations of seadragons.”The scientists are seeking government-enforced protections for the ruby seadragon. But, as a newly-identified species, relatively few things are known about it. The IUCN currently lists the species as Data Deficient, meaning conservationists don’t know enough yet to assess how threatened it is. Still, these initial revelations open the door for future study and conservation measures in its benthic habitat.Though its penchant for mystery has allowed it to survive long enough for science to catch up to it, the ruby’s discovery may be what helps it continue to thrive.Citations:Baker, J.L. 2003. Dragon Search South Australia – Summary of South Australian Sighting Data to January 2003. Internal Report – Dragon Search Community-Based Monitoring Project.Rouse, G. W., Stiller, J., & Wilson, N. G. (2002). First live records of the ruby seadragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea). Journal of Fish Biology, 61(3), 684–695. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2002.tb00904.xStiller, J., Wilson, N. G., & Rouse, G. W. (2015). A spectacular new species of seadragon (Syngnathidae). Royal Society Open Science, 2(2), 140458–140458. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.140458Stiller, J. (n.d.). Seadragon: Ruby Red with Pink Stripes | ESF Top 10 New Species. http://www.esf.edu/top10/2016/06.author.htm Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Coral Reefs, Ecosystems, Habitat, Interns, Marine Animals, New Species, Oceans, Wildlife Article published by Maria Salazarcenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

A tranquilizer shortage is holding back rhino management plans in India

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, In-situ Conservation, India-wildlife, Mammals, One-horned Rhinos, Protected Areas, Rhinos, Wildlife Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Conservationists rely on a semi-synthetic opioid called Etorphine HCl to tranquilize rhinos for veterinary care, translocation and other critical interventions.Due to export regulations in South Africa, and red tape at home, Indian states face a critical shortage of the drug.The lack of Etorphine is already holding up translocation plans in several protected areas, and preventing veterinarians from caring for injured animals. “Watching a rhino get tranquilized is indeed an experience to cherish. It is hard to imagine that such a powerful animal can become so vulnerable too,” says Dharanidhar Boro, an officer on special duty at Manas National park, who has been working with greater one-horned rhinos in India’s Assam state since 1987.He describes the frenzy as more than 30 trained elephants circle a grazing rhino to try and contain it, and an official with a dart gun, riding atop one of the pachyderms, shoots a drug-laden syringe at the rhino’s rump or neck.It takes eight to 10 minutes after the needle pierces the rhino’s thick skin for the animal to go completely under; it takes off running at first, then staggers, before finally collapsing onto its chest or side. While the experience is no fun for the animal, tranquilization makes it possible to give rhinos veterinary care, affix radio collars to track them, or safely transfer them into crates for relocation.The most important element of the tranquilizing cocktail that allows conservationists to safely knock out a 2,000-plus-kilogram (4,400-pound) rhino is a semi-synthetic opioid known as Etorphine HCl.“Etorphine HCl is by far the best available choice for rhino immobilization today,” says Amit Sharma, coordinator of rhino conservation at WWF-India. “Other large herbivores, [such] as elephants can still be tranquilized safely with other options, but nothing better works for rhinos.”India’s stock of the drug, however, is alarmingly low. The states of Assam, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, home to the country’s rhino population, have almost run out of it. Since chemical immobilization plays a crucial role in the monitoring and conservation of the species, this shortage is already having an impact on rhino management plans, Sharma said.Greater one-horned rhinos running in Kaziranga National Park. Photo by Murali K via Flickr.Supply-chain problemsHome to more than 2,900 greater one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis), India does not manufacture this critical narcotic derivative and needs to import it. South Africa, where the tranquilizer is manufactured, recently banned the export of compounded drugs — including the only commercially available Etorphine HCl compound — raising questions about how India will be able to secure it in the future.“We are in trouble regarding the procurement of the drug,” said Kushal Konwar Sarma, professor of surgery and radiology at the College of Veterinary Science in Assam. “With so many rhinos in hand and with no drug to restrain them, what will we do but to be just spectators?”The drug was once manufactured and sold under the trade name M99 in the United States, but is no longer commercially available, Sarma said. M99 was followed by a compound drug known as Immobilon, manufactured in the United Kingdom and which, according to Sarma, was a superior medication since it contained components that helped manage stress and prevent rhinos from overheating while being revived. Immobilon, too, is now off the market.The Etorphine currently being manufactured is registered under the trade name Captivon and available in South Africa. However, a regulation that came into force in South Africa this September says that “no medicine may be compounded by a pharmacist or licensed person …  for the purpose of export” — a rule that has, for now, put Captivon out of the reach of Indian conservationists.Sarma said he hopes it may somehow be possible to at least procure Etorphine in its simple form, even if the compounded drug isn’t available. “The picture is however not clear as yet,” he said.Even if veterinary facilities manage to find a supplier, they could still run into roadblocks within India. As a Schedule-1 narcotic derivative, Etorphine is a highly regulated drug, making its import a long, drawn-out process.“In India too, getting [an] import license for the drug is not easy,” says Subrata Pal Chowdhury, technical assistant in the West Bengal Wildlife Wing of the Forest Department. Even before applying to India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which ultimately approves the import application, conservation groups and government agencies have to spend from six months to a year obtaining a range of other permits and certifications from government departments, says Chowdhury, an expert on the immobilization and transport of wild animals.If the NCB approves a requisition request, it then passes it on to the International Narcotics Control Board in Vienna, which clears the drug company to make the delivery. However, even before South Africa banned Captivon exports, the Indian government had gone years without passing along requisition requests, Chowdhury said. The last time Odisha State’s Nandankanan Zoo, the officially designated import licensee and the facility responsible for distributing the drug to other institutions, received a shipment was in the 2009-2010 fiscal period. According to Nandankanan director Sisir Kumar Acharya, requisition orders from states including Uttar Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh are still pending, due to the absence of supply from manufacturers. The Assam state government procured it via alternative channels in 2014-2015, but has not managed to renew stocks since.A greater one-horned rhino in Assam State’s Pobitora National Park. Photo by Travelling Slacker via Flickr.Effects on the groundIn the meantime, both critical rescue work and ambitious relocation plans have stalled.“Our second phase of rhino reintroduction program in Dudhwa National Park is held up in absence of this drug,” said Sunil Choudhary, Dudhwa’s field director.From seven rhinos brought to the park in 1984, Dudhwa now hosts 34 at its Sonaripur Range. While the success story is encouraging, park officials are wary of the possibility of inbreeding, which can lower the immunity of the existing population. Consequently, Choudhary said, officials plan to move two or three female rhinos and bring in a new male, in hopes of establishing a second breeding population in another part of the park.There’s just one problem: “In January 2017, when we checked our drug stock, we found they had already expired. They have a short shelf life between 12 months [and] 18 months,” Choudhary said. The state is currently attempting to obtain its own import license for the rhino tranquilizer.Assam is also keeping its fingers crossed for the availability of the drug. “Winter is the best time for rhino relocation, as the administering anesthesia releases heat from the animal’s body, and accordingly we had plans to do so in Manas and Laokhowa from Pobitora and Kaziranga respectively, by February 2018,” said Assam Veterinary College’s Sarma. “But if we can’t procure the drug our program will fail.”Assam State’s Manas Park, for example, urgently needs the drug, both to allow translocation and for veterinary care.  The park has about 10 females and 15 males, which is leading to fighting among the males, said special duty officer Boro. One rhino has already sustained a leg injury, likely due to such sparring. Without Etorphine, the caretakers are helpless. “Proper treatment would have helped the animal to recover faster, but we had no choice but to simply monitor it from a distance and leave the rest to nature,” Boro said.West Bengal, another rhino range state, still has a small stock of Etorphine left for emergency use. However, the drug has already passed its official expiration date, says Pradeep Vyas, recently retired as the state’s chief wildlife warden. The drug is known to retain its efficacy for at least a few years, he said, but officials there are working to acquire more stock.With more rhinos straying from their habitats as carrying capacities are exceeded, West Bengal has plans to relocate at least 50 rhinos to new habitats within the state. Underscoring the urgency of the relocations, the body of a juvenile male rhino was found on Nov. 7 in the Dhupjhora area of Gorumara National Park. The animal, aged 3 or 4 years old, likely died from fighting, according to divisional forest officer Nisha Goswami.A greater one-horned rhino in Kaziranga National Park. Photo by Murali K via Flickr.Bibhab Talukdar, chair of the IUCN SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group, emphasized the necessity of putting in place a regular mechanism for procuring Etorphine. “The Environment Ministry should assess its annual requirements and take it up with [the] Home Ministry that governs the Narcotic Control Bureau,” he said. He added that India needs around 50 vials of the drug per year for rhino management.Accordingly, he said, India should place its requisition before the International Narcotics Control Board on time, so that the stock doesn’t run out and rhino management is not affected. Talukdar also called on the government to earmark an annual budget for Etorphine and entrust agencies such as the Central Zoo Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India with its procurement.South Africa must also be made aware of the gravity of the situation in fellow rhino range countries, so that it revokes the export ban in the interest of global rhino conservation, he said. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Isabel Estermanlast_img read more

Militarization and mining a dangerous mix in Venezuelan Amazon

first_imgAmazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Mining, Amazon People, Biodiversity Hotspots, Controversial, Corruption, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, environmental justice, Environmental Politics, Featured, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Loss, Forests, Global Environmental Crisis, Gold Mining, Green, Illegal Mining, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Infrastructure, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Mining, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Slavery, Social Conflict, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation Venezuela today is gripped by a catastrophic economic crisis, born out of corruption on a vast scale, government mismanagement and a failed petro-economy.In 2016, President Nicolás Maduro announced the opening of the Orinoco Mining Arc, a vast region in the southern part of the nation perhaps boasting $100 billion in untapped gold, diamonds and coltan, as well as being one of the most biodiverse parts of the Amazon.Maduro also created an “Economic Military Zone” to protect the region. Today, the army has a huge presence there, ostensibly to reduce the influence of organized gangs doing illegal mining.In reality, the military is heavily involved in mining itself, often allegedly competing with gangs for resources, with violent conflict a result. Small-scale miners, indigenous and traditional communities, and the environment could be the big losers in this struggle for power and wealth. The Venezuelan military stops motorists passing in front of Minerven, a state company just outside of the town of El Callao. These military checkpoints are a regular part of Venezuelan life today. Photo by Bram EbusThis story is the first in a series of Mongabay articles about Venezuela’s Arco Minero, produced in partnership with InfoAmazonia which has launched an in-depth multimedia platform called Digging into the Mining Arc, exclusively highlighting Venezuela’s mining boom. The three Mongabay stories by Bram Ebus can be found here, here and here. A fourth story, by Mongabay Editor Glenn Scherer, summarizing the series, can be found here.EL CALLAO, BOLIVAR, Venezuela – In conflict-ridden Venezuela, slowing your car to a stop, rolling down your window, and opening your trunk to allow armed National Guardsmen to inspect your vehicle has become a standard routine for just about everybody.Especially in rural Bolívar, the nation’s richest state in minerals, and a region at the heart of what’s known as Venezuela’s Orinoco Mining Arc.There, drivers can expect to encounter improvised roadblocks roughly every half hour. Rural roads are also patrolled by the military and intelligence services, looking for gold smugglers or maybe for an opportunity to extort money or supplies from those making deliveries of food and fuel to the mines.“This government and President Maduro send everybody here: the military, SEBIN [police intelligence], the [state] police and the National Guard. Since about a year ago they have taken control and malandros [gangs] are farther away now,” says Manuel Álvarez (not his real name), a miner.“So do not freak out!” he stresses. “You will see a lot of arms here!”Álvarez has his own mine in Bolívar state where he employs 30 to 40 people. He even mined the gold for his own false tooth, which he happily displays. Álvarez explains that the town of El Callao in Bolívar is surrounded by illegal gold mines, along with legal ones run by small public companies.This mingling of mining and all things military is typical of Venezuela today, a nation with a collapsing petro-economy that is enduring some of the worst military crackdowns, unrest and civil disturbance in its history — all of which is likely bad for the environment and its protection.Manuel Álvarez (not his real name) shows off his golden tooth. He mined the gold himself. Photo by Bram EbusMaduro wagers on mining and his militaryVenezuela is making a dangerous bet. The country, ravaged by corruption, is going all-in on large-scale mining to save the day. With the economy still in free fall, and a 2,300 percent inflation rate expected this year, whole families are fleeing their communities in the urban north and trekking into the remote mining regions to the south in search of financial salvation, or at least a living wage.The lucky ones will reap the benefits of mining, what some critics call the “legalized larceny” of natural resource extraction, though the risks are extremely high.The Mining Decree announced by President Nicolàs Maduro in 2016 opened up the Orinoco Mining Arc (Arco Minero) for exploration and exploitation; it is a rugged, largely forested area covering 112,000 square kilometers (43,240 square miles), much of it part of the Amazon.The region, located south of the Orinoco River, is reportedly rich with the world’s most wanted ores, but is also plagued by conflict, fueled by the military, local armed gangs and Colombian guerrilla groups — all seeking control of an estimated, but uncertified, $100 billion in hidden minerals.A small-scale miner awaits as the author is winched up after descending 40 meters (130 feet) into a Venezuelan mining shaft. Photo by Bram EbusSo far, newly created national and international companies, mostly without much mining experience, have been lining up to get a piece of the pie — gold, coltan, copper, diamonds and much more — but they are not alone in the region: the military has also staked a claim.When Maduro launched the Arco Minero last year, he also created an “Economic Military Zone” to protect it, entitling his armed forces to participate in all mining activities, while also increasing their operational capabilities inside the mining region.Private corporations that want to mine in Venezuela are required by law to form joint ventures with state-owned-companies, many only just recently created. One of the new companies is the so-called Anonymous Military Company of Mining, dubbed CAMIMPEG.This trend is nothing new for Venezuela. Business and the army are often closely linked, with active or pensioned high-ranking military personnel serving on about 30 percent of known public company boards. It was the late socialist President Hugo Chávez who first lavished significant authority on the national army, so that today it is able to operate with a high level of impunity throughout the country.But that doesn’t mean that locals like or trust the military. In El Callao, for example, a town dominated by mining, soldiers maintain a strong visual presence, but many keep their faces hidden behind hoods and bandanas.“They cover their faces if they [come] from the region themselves, to not get recognized. Soldiers have been killed before,” explains an owner of a local gold trading shop.Shops that buy and sell gold dominate the town of El Callao, a miners’ enclave. Small-scale miners rarely receive the full value of the gold they mine. Photo by Bram EbusEach morning, small-scale miners gather at the central square of El Callao. Depending on weather conditions and demand in the mines, they are offered day jobs. If they don’t find work, they often simply spend their days searching the local rivers with their washing boards. Photo by Bram EbusInside the Mining ArcMaduro’s declaration of the Economic Military Zone is meant “to implicate the military in mining,” says Alexander Luzardo, who has a doctorate in environmental rights, and who wrote the environmental protection legislation included in Venezuela’s current constitution.Luzardo and other environmentalists fear that unrestricted mining and the presence of the military in the Arco Minero will endanger rivers and forests, as well as the Amazon region’s extraordinary biodiversity.The Arco Minero encompasses Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans 30,000 square kilometers (12,000 square miles). Its forests and flat-topped plateaus are home to jaguars (Panthera onca), giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) and giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla).The region slated for mining development also includes the Imataca Forest Reserve (30,000 square kilometers); the La Paragua and El Caura reserves (50,000 square kilometers; 19,000 square miles); the Cerro Guanay Natural Monument; and the Caroní River watershed (96,000 square kilometers; 37,000 square miles).The owner of a local gold pawn shop in Tumeremo, Bolivar state, shows a stack of Venezuelan money, worth only a few dollars due to the nation’s rapidly escalating inflation. Photo by Bram EbusInside the Mining Arc, the National Guard now controls most of the roads, where it is reported to earn money through extortion and smuggling, while the army controls many mining operations. Generals often dominate resource-rich areas; according to locals, these commanders frequently operate above the law — bad news for the region’s biodiversity, environment and indigenous and traditional communities.Luzardo believes that President Maduro’s Arco Minero decree not only violates the country’s constitution, but also other national legislation and international regulations designed to protect the environment and indigenous peoples.“You cannot legalize an environmental crime,” he says, explaining that the army should protect the environment and not partake in its destruction.A migrant miner in El Callao shows us “la veta,” an underground vein rich in minerals. Photo by Bram EbusSmall-scale miners Making things more complicated, mining companies and the military are competing with, as well as exploiting, the artisanal mining sector. Venezuela has an estimated 250,000 small-scale miners. Some operate their own small mines (both legal and illegal), while many others work in gang-controlled mines, especially inside the Arco Minero, or are part of mines controlled by the military.Life is typically tough for these small-scale miners. Many became prospectors after losing their jobs as a result of the catastrophic Venezuelan economic crisis born out of government mismanagement, corruption and the collapse of the country’s petro-economy in 2014.Now they spend their days deep in mining pits and tunnels, or up to their necks in rivers where they mine for gold and other minerals. The operations they work for are often illegal, which means that the small-scale miners are criminalized, while also being repressed and poorly treated. They depend for their livelihoods on local power structures, which are very fluid, typically changing every few months.Often deprived of a fair price for the minerals they mine, or underpaid, these men frequently fear for their lives and must cope daily with dangerous conditions, risking mine collapses and handling toxic mercury used in gold ore processing. Most small-scale miners simply want to bring home the bacon to support their families, so it’s no surprise that environmental regulations rate far down their list of priorities.A Tumeremo gold pawn shop owner sits behind his desk while enjoying the luxury of a cooling desk fan. He says that he is happy to buy and sell gold, and that it is far too dangerous to work in or around the mines. Photo by Bram EbusA gold trader in Tumeremo displays 68.9 grams of gold he just certified. The Orinoco Mining Arc is claimed to hold $100 billion in as yet uncertified and hidden minerals. Photo by Bram Ebus“A façade to continue the fraud”Manuel Álvarez, the miner, says most mines within the Arco Minero continue to be protected by armed gunmen. At first, the region’s natural resources were heavily contested between competing gangs, he recalls, but when the government declared the Economic Military Zone, some order was restored.“The army really has treated the people well,” he says. “They’ve cleaned up the zone and people can work quietly now.”For Álvarez, things might indeed be better, but not all miners in Bolívar have such a good relationship with the army. During a single week in September 2017, 30 miners were killed in clashes with state troops near the municipality of Tumeremo. In March of last year, 28 miners were massacred, also near Tumeremo, in an attack linked to government forces. Locals fear that these assaults could be a preamble to greater violence in the Arco Minero.A makeshift installation made to separate gold from waste rock and sediments. Mercury use is inherent to this technique, and a toxic danger to miners. Photo by Bram EbusThese attacks by Venezuelan military forces are not, according to Bolívar state deputy Américo de Grazia , conducted primarily to destroy organized criminal networks, but rather to eliminate gangs that are not doing business with the army and National Guard.“The Arco Minero is a facade to continue with the fraud,” he says. “It’s an attempt to deepen the theft of minerals. Not only gold, but also diamonds, coltan and any product.”According to de Grazia, most Venezuelan mining is accomplished by illegal armed groups, which control large numbers of small-scale miners. The deputy also says that the “legal” gold that the state companies claim to produce is not actually mined by them, but rather by illegal mines and miners. “There is an established culture for the robbery of minerals. The [government now] intends to capitalize on [this] through CAMIMPEG,” the military’s mining company.As a result, confrontations between state forces and rival gangs have grown more frequent. The violence flares up particularly when there is a change in military leadership or when a criminal group loses its grip on its mines.Small-scale miners in Bolívar state transport mineral ore to one of the nearby processing mills. They are rarely well rewarded for their grueling work yet suffer major risks to health and their lives. Photo by Bram EbusThe military “wants to have their own operators, or pranes, so that they have better profits,” says de Grazia, adding that the officers in charge of mining areas are often rotated. “The pran is an agent of retention; when he doesn’t obey the general of the moment, he cannot operate. That’s why every military [leader] who arrives wants to get rich overnight, which makes him [potentially] crueler and more violent. This causes his norms to be more inhumane, because he knows that this is the way to enrich himself.”Cliver Alcalá Cordones, a Major General who retired in 2013 and a Chávez loyalist who was in charge of the mining regions, affirms that the army is heavily involved in illegal mining. The military perpetrated massacres are, according to Alcalá Cordones, the result of “instructions of superior commanders to guarantee companies to not suffer from distubances, or to not pay a ‘vaccine’ [extortion money] or [just] because of business.”Some mines are directly operated by the army, with a share of the output going to Venezuela’s central bank. “They give something to the state for legitimacy,” adds de Grazia. He describes the gold going to the government as a “tip.”Today, it’s estimated that about 91 percent of Venezuela’s gold is produced illegally, but the criminal activities attached to it don’t end with the mining. Various persons involved in both legal and illegal Venezuelan mining operations confirm that most gold produced in the country is smuggled out through Colombia and the Caribbean islands, an operation often allegedly carried out by the Venezuelan army.A makeshift installation made to separate gold from waste rock and sediments. Mercury use is inherent to this technique, and a toxic danger to miners. Photo by Bram EbusAn amalgam formed with toxic mercury and gold. The amalgam is heated with a gas burner so the mercury vaporizes; in this way the gold is separated from waste. The process, often carried out without proper protection by small-scale miners, can lead easily to mercury poisoning, ultimately deadly. Photo by Bram EbusUnder such corrupt conditions, it is hard to see how the Orinoco Mining Arc could end up being Venezuela’s economic salvation. It is far easier to imagine that a formula combining militarization and mining could end in the ruin of the nation’s portion of the Amazon, one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, while putting small-scale miners and indigenous and traditional communities at terrible risk.The Venezuelan government and CAMIMPEG, the Military mining company did not respond to requests for comment for this story.This Mongabay series was produced in cooperation with a joint reporting project between InfoAmazonia and Correo del Caroni, made possible by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. An InfoAmazonia multimedia platform called Digging into the Mining Arc features in-depth stories on the topic.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.Franco León, a young miner who suffers from malaria, inspects an underground near El Callao. Photo by Bram Ebus Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Roads, dams and railways: Ten infrastructure stories from Southeast Asia in 2017

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Agriculture, Amphibians, Animals, Apes, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Cats, Conservation, Corruption, Dams, Deforestation, Ecology, Economics, Elephants, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Politics, Fish, Fishing, Forests, Great Apes, Hunting, Infrastructure, Land Rights, Logging, Mammals, Mekong Dams, Mining, Oceans, Orangutans, Parks, Poaching, Pollution, Primates, Protected Areas, Rainforest Biodiversity, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Reptiles, Research, Rhinos, Roads, Tigers, Tropical Forests, United Nations, Water, Water Pollution, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Southeast Asia is one of the epicenters of a global “tsunami” of infrastructure development.As the countries in the region work to elevate their economic standing, concerns from scientists and NGOs highlight the potential pitfalls in the form of environmental degradation and destruction that roads, dams and other infrastructure can bring in tow.Mongabay had reporters covering the region in 2017. Here are 10 of their stories. Around the world, there’s a push for rapid infrastructure development, and nowhere is that truer than in Southeast Asia. Roads, seen by the World Bank as a “blunt instrument” for economic development, are perhaps the most visible sign of this coming storm, with 25 million kilometers (15.5 million miles) of roads slated for construction around the world by 2050. In Southeast Asia, local, regional and national governments are working on projects like the Pan-Borneo Highway, the Central Spine road to connect Kunming in China with Singapore, and the expansion of roadways to link small communities with big cities.While research doesn’t always show a firm connection between these developments and immediate economic benefits, poorly sited roads have been shown to open once-remote areas to hunting, agriculture and human settlement. Countries around the region are also working on dams for drinking water and hydroelectric power, railroads to shoulder the traffic burden from a growing population, and even new land created by pulling up sand and gravel from the sea floor.Throughout 2017, Mongabay’s staff and contributors have been talking with the scientists, community leaders and government officials involved in the decision-making process. And they’ve spent time on the ground working to understand the important impacts on the environment and the lives of the people who call these places home. As the year draws to a close, here’s a look back at 10 important stories on infrastructure in Southeast Asia from 2017.William Laurance (right) getting a briefing from a park guard about a planned superhighway in Nigeria. Photo by Mahmoud Mahmoud.1. An ‘infrastructure tsunami’ for Asia: Q&A with researcher William Laurance — Jan. 6, 2017Tropical ecologist William Laurance spoke with series editor Isabel Esterman about a “tsunami” of new development happening all over the world. In 2014, he and his team put together a global roadmap highlighting spots where roads could do the most environmental damage and others where they could help connect farmers to markets and benefit local economies. Since that time, the researchers, based at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, have focused their efforts on Southeast Asia. They’re gathering finer-scale data about upcoming projects, creating relationships with NGOs, other scientists and government officials, and working to identify the environmental, social and economic costs of planned projects across a region replete with critically important tropical habitats.Workers for construction giant Italian-Thai atop a concrete structure that will support an overpass and the expansion of Highway 304. Work is expected to be completed in 2018. Thai authorities are counting on mitigation measures like wildlife corridors to reduce the road’s impact on wildlife. Photo by Demelza Stokes for Mongabay.2. Thap Lan: Thailand’s unsung forest gem under threat, but still abrim with life — Jan. 31, 2017Thap Lan National Park in Thailand is a bastion of biodiversity in Southeast Asia, providing a home for 112 species of mammals, 392 species of birds and 200 species of reptiles and amphibians. Asian elephants (Elephas maximas), king cobras (Ophiophagus hannah) and hornbills are all found in the park’s 2,236 square kilometers (863 square miles) of forest, and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But in addition to poaching and logging, the expansion of a highway that connects to Bangkok is encroaching on the park. Officials argue that a wider road is vital to the country’s development, and there are plans for wildlife corridors to allow animals to move around in the park. But conservationists worry that it’s not enough. Journalist Demelza Stokes takes us into the park for a look at how Thailand is working to balance conservation with economic development.Silent rusting mine machinery litters the Panguna mine site in Papua New Guinea, abandoned 28 years ago. Photo by Catherine Wilson for Mongabay.3. Rio Tinto walks away from environmental responsibility for Bougainville’s Panguna mine — April 6, 2017Local communities on an island in eastern Papua New Guinea are still dealing with the negative effects of a copper mine decades after it was shut down. In 1989, local landowners succeed in halting Rio Tinto’s operations at the Panguna open-pit mine, arguing that the company was polluting the local water supply and hadn’t adequately shared its profits. The government is trying to get Rio Tinto to fund a cleanup operation, but the company said that, since 2016, it no longer has a financial stake in the mine and therefore can’t be held responsible. Contributor Catherine Wilson sifts through the arguments for Mongabay.Danum Valley, a protected primary forest in Sabah. Photo by John C. Cannon.4. On the road to ‘smart development’ — May 25, 2017Critical questions about where to build roads and other infrastructure projects swirl in places like Malaysia, not just about the locations that will do the least environmental harm, but also where they’ll bring about the most social and economic good for local people. But the benefits are often overblown and the costs underestimated, said ecologist Bill Laurance as he and his team embarked on a new project in 2017. Their aim is to help policymakers get hold of the kind of data that puts those highly complex decisions in the simplest terms, allowing for infrastructure development that does the most good and the least harm. Staff writer John Cannon tagged along with Laurance and his colleagues on a recent trip to Malaysia and filed a dispatch in May.Protesters from Galesong hold a banner calling for an end to sand mining as they occupy the area slated for the Centre Point development in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo by Wahyu Chandra/Mongabay-Indonesia.5. Sand mining, land reclamation meet fierce resistance in Makassar — July 10, 2017The government of the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi is intent on creating more space and a new “prestigious landmark” in the form of a series of artificial islands off its capital city, Makassar. The land-reclamation project needs 22 million cubic meters (777 million cubic feet) of sand and gravel, which has spurred local fishing communities into a campaign of resistance. They say the plunder of that much building material will crush their livelihoods, so they’ve tried to block dredging ships. A local NGO has also sued the government for not having a fisheries permit or an environmental impact assessment. Reporters Rahmat Hardiansya and Wahyu Chandra visited Makassar to get the full story.A baby Malayan sun bear (pictured here in Borneo), one of the many highly endangered species found in Kerinci Seblat National Park in Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.6. Road projects threaten Sumatra’s last great rainforests — Aug. 7, 2017Often seen as a simple tool to bring quick economic benefits, roads also open up remote areas to environmental degradation and destruction. In 2017, officials on the Indonesian island of Sumatra moved forward plans to build a network of roads designed to connect local communities and provide evacuation routes from far-flung areas. But conservationists opposed blueprints to cut into several national parks on the island. These parks hold around 10,000 plant species and more than 200 mammal species, including the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, which could suffer due to the acceleration of habitat loss that roads could introduce into their ranges. Staff writer Hans Nicholas Jong investigates for Mongabay.Elephants making use of a viaduct at the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor in Terengganu state in Peninsular Malaysia. Photo courtesy of G. Reuben Clements.7. Malaysia’s East Coast Rail Link a double-edged sword for environment, wildlife — Aug. 9, 2017In August, crews in Peninsular Malaysia started working on a new 600-kilometer (373-mile) railroad that will connect this part of the country’s east and west coasts. Funding for the $12.8 billion effort is coming from Chinese backers, and it’s hoped that the railway will ease the traffic burden on Malaysia’s roads. But it also cuts through important areas of forest and critical habitat for the region’s wildlife. The environmental impact assessment for the project reports that it will cause “severe fragmentation of habitats.” Contributor Kate Mayberry traveled to the area and tells the story for Mongabay.Tall, dense mangrove trees on the shore of Balang Island, near the site of a proposed bridge in Indonesia. Photo by Basten Gokkon/Mongabay.8. ‘Ecological disaster’: controversial bridge puts East Kalimantan’s green commitment to the test — Aug. 30, 2017The Indonesian province of East Kalimantan is working to connect its cities to more rural parts of Borneo in an effort to jump-start the economy. Currently, crews are working on the Pulau Balang Bridge to link Balikpapan with communities across Balikpapan Bay. In the works for nearly a decade, the project has raised the ire of conservationists worried about the damage the bridge might do to marine life in the bay and the wildlife within the remaining tracts of primary coastal forest. And local community members worry that the economic development promised by the government will go unrealized. Staff writer Basten Gokkon tells the story.A local leader protesting the construction of the Kaiduan Dam poses in front of artwork in a “Save Ulu Papar” shirt. Photo by Kenny Gotlieb for Mongabay.9. Cross currents: Mega-dams and micro-hydro offer two different futures for rural Borneo — Sept. 20, 2017Residents of villages along the Papar River in northern Borneo face an uncertain future. In January 2017, the infrastructure minister of the Malaysian state of Sabah announced that plans were moving forward to build the long-planned Kaiduan Dam to provide drinking water to people living in the state capital, Kota Kinabalu. But construction of the dam would require resettling several villages in the area. In the meantime, villages such as Longkogungan are installing their own infrastructure in the form of micro-hydropower systems to harvest energy as streams tumble through the mountains of the Crocker Range toward the sea. Reporter Kenny Gotlieb met with local leaders and shares their stories.Houses waiting for villagers resisting being moved for the dam at the New Kbal Romeas resettlement village. Photo by Jenny Denton for Mongabay.10. ‘If it’s going to kill us, OK, we’ll die’: Villagers stand firm as Cambodian dam begins to fill — Oct. 18, 2017Crews in Cambodia started construction of a new dam in September. The $800 million project will be the country’s largest generator of hydropower, but NGOs argue that the thousands of lives it will affect are too high a price to pay. They contend that losses to fishing communities both upstream and downstream of the dam will be disastrous. The government has already resettled many communities, but contributor Jenny Denton reports that 100 families have resolved to stay on their land, even as the waters rise around them.Editor’s note: William Laurance is a member of Mongabay’s advisory board.Banner image of Bornean orangutans by John C. Cannon.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Article published by John Cannonlast_img read more

New ‘ghost’ scorpion among several species recorded for the first time in Malaysian rainforest

first_imgFor the first time ever, scientists have surveyed the rainforest of Penang Hill comprehensively. The 130-million-year old forest is believed to have never been cut before and has remained largely unexplored.Among the exciting discoveries is a potentially new species of “ghost” scorpion, and numerous first records for Penang Hill.With a more complete understanding of the forests of Penang Hill, the scientists hope to nominate Penang’s forest as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. In a first-of-its-kind expedition, a team of more than 100 scientists and students have surveyed the largely unexplored Penang Hill in the Malaysian state of Penang. The landscape of rolling hills is covered by a large expanse of old-growth tropical hardwood trees and lies just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from George Town, the state capital. Yet remarkably the 130-million-year-old rainforest is believed to have never been cut before.Over a span of two weeks last October, a 117-member team climbed tall trees, searched the forest floor and scoured the dark, mysterious depths of caves to discover a treasure trove of animals and plants. They recorded more than 1,400 species, including four likely new to science — a scorpion, a fly, a bacterium and a water bear — and at least 25 species of plants and animals that were recorded in Penang Hill for the very first time. For the expedition, researchers from the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) partnered with The Habitat, an ecotourism facility on Penang, as well as scientists from the University of Science Malaysia (Universiti Sains Malaysia or USM) and local students.The expedition produced an “extraordinary number of firsts,” Margaret D. Lowman, CAS’s Lindsay Chair of Botany and expedition leader, told Mongabay in an email. “This was an unprecedented whole-forest, and all-taxa BioBlitz by scientists, the majority of which were female.”What was also surprising, Lowman added, was that “a rainforest so close to 1.5 million people was so pristine!”Biologist Siti Azizah Mohd Nor of USM agreed. “It was certainly gratifying to obtain such good biodiversity records from an area of forest which is very close to human settlement and activity areas.”Researcher Wendy Baxter surveying the treetops in Penang Hill. Photo copyright 2017 Anthony Ambrose.Among the exciting discoveries is a potentially new species of “ghost” scorpion that arachnologists Lauren Esposito and Stephanie Loria of CAS chanced upon during the very first collecting day of the trip.“We had spent the morning out on a short trail near the base camp, and had just made it out to one of the longer trails leading into the primary rainforest,” Esposito told Mongabay. “It was about 3 p.m., and we had just found each other again after meandering off on our own. About 100 yards down the trail, Stephanie paused to break apart a log dangling across the steep, muddy path. We were just casually standing around talking when Stephanie yelled out, ‘A chaerilid [scorpion]!’”The scorpion belongs to one of the oldest lineages on Earth, known as the ghost scorpions, a group that is native to Southeast Asia. Most scorpions glow a bright cyan-green under ultraviolet light, but the ghost scorpions’ glow is very faint. “It’s almost eerie,” Esposito explained, “resembling the ghost of the scorpion.”The local partners had seen the scorpion before, but they did not know that it was something new, she added. “We had a hunch this new species was out there, but it was really a matter of odds. For every hundred logs or so we turn over, we find a scorpion. We got lucky.”A new-to-science scorpion discovered on Penang Hill. Photo copyright 2017 Phil Torres/bioGraphic. This photo originally appeared in bioGraphic, an online magazine about nature and sustainability powered by the California Academy of Sciences.The researchers identified numerous species that had never been recorded on Penang Hill before. These include the red-rumped swallow, the stripe-throated bulbul, the spotted-wing fruit bat, a species of orchid, eight species of mammals (including the peculiar lesser mouse deer), two species of frogs, and several species of flies, ants and spiders. The team also managed to record the cryptic Sunda colugo (Galeopterus variegatus), also called the Sunda or Malayan flying lemur.“The most interesting finding from this expedition involves insights into the biology and behavior of the elusive Sunda colugo,” primatologist Nadine Ruppert of USM told Mongabay. “We will reveal details of this in a forthcoming scientific publication soon. So please stay tuned.”A Sunda colugo, or flying lemur, was recorded for the first time on Penang Hill. Photo copyright 2017 Phil Torres/bioGraphic. This photo originally appeared in bioGraphic, an online magazine about nature and sustainability powered by the California Academy of Sciences.The surveys involved not just scientists but also students from local schools, giving them the opportunity to become citizen scientists.“Many of the students that were involved … hail from schools in the immediate vicinity of the lower station at the foothills of Penang Hill,” Justine Vaz, the general manager of the Habitat Foundation, told Mongabay. “We expect to continue to engage actively with these students so that they will become good stewards and ambassadors for the Penang forest within their communities.”The survey teams are currently analyzing their collections from the expedition. “We are confident of a few more discoveries in the coming weeks,” Siti Azizah said.With a more complete understanding of the biodiversity within Penang Hill, the scientists hope to nominate the area as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The size of the proposed Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve is currently in the final stages of being finalized by the state government.“Penang is fortunate to have almost one quarter of the island still relatively pristine,” Lowman said. “So this UNESCO site would ensure long-term forest conservation.”Nur Faeza Abu Kassim of USM and her student Nur Zulaikha Zainal Abidin investigate a mosquito trap. Photo by Wendy Baxter/2017. Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Forests, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Invertebrates, Mammals, New Species, Plants, Rainforest Conservation, Species Discovery, Tropical Forests, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Rhino poaching in South Africa dipped slightly last year, but ‘crisis continues unabated,’ conservationists say

first_imgSouth African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa announced in a press briefing today that 1,028 rhinos were illegally killed in the country in 2017.In Kruger National Park, which has typically been the epicenter of rhino poaching in South Africa, 504 illegal killings were recorded last year, Molewa reported. That’s a 24 percent reduction over 2016 — but these gains were offset by poaching in other regions, particularly KwaZulu Natal province.While the rhino poaching rate in South Africa has slowly decreased every year since peaking in 2014 with 1,215 animals lost, conservationists were not encouraged by the slightly lower number of rhinos killed last year. South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa announced in a press briefing today that 1,028 rhinos were illegally killed in the country in 2017.That figure represents a small decrease over 2016’s total of 1,054 illicit rhino killings.Booming demand for rhino horn in newly-affluent Asian countries like Vietnam and China, where rhino horn is used in traditional medicine, is driving a poaching crisis that threatens to overturn the Southern white rhino population’s recovery from as low as 50 individuals in the early 20th century to about 20,000 today. The Southern white rhino is now the most abundant of all rhino subspecies, and South Africa is considered its last stronghold.In Kruger National Park, which has typically been the epicenter of rhino poaching in South Africa, 504 illegal killings were recorded last year, Molewa reported. That’s a 24 percent reduction over 2016 — but these gains were offset by poaching in other regions, particularly KwaZulu Natal province.Official rhino poaching statisitcs reported by South Africa in recent years. © TRAFFIC.Meanwhile, arrests of suspected rhino poachers and traffickers in South Africa dropped by almost a quarter, with just 518 last year compared to 680 in 2016.Molewa also reported a rise in the number of elephants poached in Kruger National Park, as 67 elephants were killed there in 2017. According to Reuters, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement that “The increases in other provinces, coupled with the sharp rise in elephant poaching, tell us that as we progress and evolve, so do the tactics and methods of the poachers.”Indeed, it was reported last year that transnational criminal networks have begun manufacturing jewelry, beads, and other trinkets out of rhino horn in southern Africa rather than smuggling the horns out of the continent whole or in chunks, a new tactic that could possibly be helping illegal exports evade detection.South Africa imposed a moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horn in 2009, but the country’s constitutional court overruled a governmental appeal to keep the ban in place in April of last year. Legal auctions of rhino horn subsequently resumed a few months later. (International trade in rhino horns was banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1977, and that ban remains in place.)While the rhino poaching rate in South Africa has slowly decreased every year since peaking in 2014 with 1,215 animals lost, conservationists were not encouraged by the slightly lower number of rhinos killed last year.“The marginally lower total in 2017 still remains unacceptably high,” Tom Milliken, Rhino Programme Leader for TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, said in a statement. Milliken noted that 1,028 total killings works out to nearly three rhinos poached every day in South Africa last year: “the bottom line is the crisis continues unabated.”Milliken also noted that South Africa has yet to formally adopt its National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking. “TRAFFIC calls on South Africa urgently to adopt and implement its national strategy to combat wildlife trafficking: the potential growth of new markets for rhino products is a deeply worrying development that needs to be nipped in the bud — we’re far from seeing the light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel,” he said.At the press conference this morning announcing the 2017 rhino poaching data, Minister Molewa acknowledged that there was much work yet to be done to rein in the poaching crisis that is decimating Africa’s rhino and elephant populations, but struck a note of optimism in response to the progress that has been made.According to a tweet by the South African government’s official Twitter account, Molewa said, “It is clear from what we have reported to you as a team this morning that we continue to register successes in our fight against rhino poaching, but we are equally aware that the battle is far from won.”She added: “We will in 2018 continue to draw on our achievements, learn from our mistakes, and adapt international best practice. It is only through a collaborative approach that we have come this far — which is a long way from where we were a few years ago.”A white rhino in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Elephants, Environment, Illegal Trade, Law Enforcement, Mammals, Organized Crime, Poaching, Rhinos, Wildlife, Wildlife Crime, Wildlife Trade Article published by Mike Gaworeckicenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Pepsi cuts off Indonesian palm oil supplier over labor, sustainability concerns

first_imgConflict, Deforestation, Environment, Forced labor, Green, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Social Conflict, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests Banner image: Clusters of fruit from oil palm trees are cut from trees and collected in an ox-drawn cart. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay. PepsiCo has announced the suspension since January 2017 of its business ties with IndoAgri, one of Indonesia’s biggest palm oil producers, citing concerns over the company’s labor rights and sustainability practices.IndoAgri has been criticized for alleged abuses of workers’ rights in some of its plantations in North Sumatra province.PepsiCo has demanded that IndoAgri resolve these outstanding issues before its considers resuming their business partnership. JAKARTA — PepsiCo has suspended its business with Indofood Agri Resources (IndoAgri), one of the largest palm oil companies in Indonesia, citing sustainability and labor rights concerns.PepsiCo, the U.S.-based company behind brands like Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Tropicana, primarily sources its palm oil from Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of the commodity, where huge swaths of tropical forests and carbon-rich peatlands are being cleared to make way for palm plantations.It has a joint venture with the parent company of IndoAgri, Indofood, to produce some products, such as Lays-branded snacks, in the Southeast Asian nation.While IndoAgri is not a direct supplier to PepsiCo, it supplies palm oil to international traders which then sell to PepsiCo.“PepsiCo is very concerned about the allegations that our policies and commitments on palm oil, forestry stewardship and human rights are not being met,” PepsiCo said in a statement.It revealed that it had therefore decided to suspend procuring palm oil from IndoAgri for its joint venture with Indofood since January 2017.IndoAgri has been subjected to various environmental and social concerns, particularly over alleged labor rights abuse in some of its plantations.In 2016, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), an international NGO; OPPUK, an Indonesian labor rights advocacy organization; and the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) published a report on alleged labor rights abuses on IndoAgri’s plantations in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province.The report documents how workers in the plantations are routinely exposed to hazardous pesticides, paid less than the minimum wage, illegally kept in a temporary work status to fill core jobs, and deterred from forming independent labor unions, among other findings.In 2017, a follow-up report was published, revealing that little progress has been made in addressing the labor rights issues, with IndoAgri only adopting cosmetic changes that fail to address the root causes of the abuse, such as putting up signs saying undocumented workers are banned, rather than formalizing these workers as employees or lowering harvest quotas.IndoAgri has also been the subject of separate complaints relating to deforestation and social or land conflicts.A 2017 report by Chain Reaction Research reveals that 42 percent of the land under Indofood Agri’s concessions is in dispute; some areas are the subject of community conflicts and labor controversies, some contain undeveloped peat and/or forest areas, some overlap with mining concessions, and others have no maps.Furthermore, at least 36 percent of the crude palm oil (CPO) processed in Indofood Agri’s refineries comes from undisclosed sources, according to the report.Robin Averbeck, the agribusiness campaign director at RAN, said that with the announcement, PepsiCo had admitted that its palm oil supply chain was tainted with high risks.“After years of denial, PepsiCo has admitted to the high risks associated with its palm oil supply chain and business partner,” she said in a statement. “Its partnership with Indofood is marred by years of labor violations and other practices that have produced nothing but Conflict Palm Oil for PepsiCo-branded snack foods.”Responding to the announcement and media coverage of it, IndoAgri confirmed that it had not been a supplier to PepsiCo since early 2017. The company also said it had complied with Indonesian labor laws and regulations.“We do not have any dispute or outstanding issue with any of our Labor Unions (we have a total of 10 Labor Unions) or the Indonesian Ministry of Labor,” IndoAgri CEO and executive director Mark Wakeford said in a statement. “We have also recently received a good compliment and zero accident award from the Indonesian Ministry of Labor.”The suspension, however, might be a temporary one; PepsiCo has left open the possibility of resuming its business relationship with IndoAgri if the palm oil firm can prove its commitment to sustainability.Last year, IndoAgri announced a new sustainability policy to address the labor rights issues and environmental concerns, with the company promising to not develop on peatland for any new development and to protect the rights of its workers, among other things.However, some green groups have identified weaknesses and loopholes in the new sustainability policy, especially those pertaining to labor issues.Eric Gottwald, the senior legal and policy director at the ILRF, said IndoAgri had failed to adopt a credible mechanism, in line with international standards set out in the U.N. Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights, to address concerns from workers, communities and civil society organizations.“Instead, IndoAgri has made only a vague commitment that will allow it to pick and choose [which] grievances it will address,” Gottwald said in a statement.Chain Reaction Research, meanwhile, pointed out that IndoAgri had not adopted sector-specific labor standards. As such, improving its internal grievance mechanism with respect to management of human rights and environmental risks and impacts is among the issues that PepsiCo is demanding IndoAgri resolve.PepsiCo has also called on IndoAgri to provide more public information on the steps it has taken to address grievances; to take further necessary action to fully resolve the issues; and to join other stakeholders in discussing the systemic issues that exist in some oil palm plantations in Indonesia.“These steps are necessary for the potential re-establishment of palm oil supply from IndoAgri to the joint venture,” PepsiCo said. “We will also continue over the course of 2018 to review on a quarterly basis IndoAgri’s progress against the requested actions outlined above, and in that context we will continue the dialogue with our direct suppliers around IndoAgri-sourced palm oil in our supply chain, including the possibility of change of source.” Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Small farmers not ready as Indonesia looks to impose its palm oil sustainability standard on all

first_imgArticle published by Hans Nicholas Jong Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Agriculture, Certification, Environment, Farming, Forests, Indonesia, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations, Rainforests, Rspo, Sustainability Banner image: A Lubuk Beringin villager, Rahimah, 70, harvests palm nuts for palm oil on her agroforestry farm at Lubuk Beringin village in Jambi province, Indonesia. Photo by: Tri Saputro/CIFOR/Flickr The Indonesian government plans to make its sustainable palm oil certification scheme, the ISPO, mandatory for small farmers by 2020. These farmers account for 40 percent of the total oil palm plantation area nationwide, but were exempted from the initial ISPO rollout.A recent study shows that these smallholders are not ready to adopt the standard. They face a variety of challenges, largely stemming from the tenuous nature of their land ownership claims.The Ministry of Agriculture fears that under the existing ISPO compliance regulation, many farmers will end up in prison for failing to comply by the deadline. The government is now drafting an updated ISPO regulation. JAKARTA — The Indonesian government aims to impose its homegrown sustainability standard for palm oil on all operators, but concerns persist over the readiness of the previously exempt small-scale farmers who manage two-fifths of total plantation area nationwide.Mandatory participation in the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil scheme, or ISPO, was initially aimed at farmers and companies managing plantations of more than 25 hectares (62 acres) in size. This, however, exempts from certification the vast number of smaller plantations that, combined, account for 40 percent of oil palm plantations in the country.To date, less than 1 percent of independent smallholder farms are certified as sustainable under the ISPO and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world’s largest association for ethical production of palm oil.The industry has long been associated with social and environmental problems such as forced labor and massive deforestation. The government, aware that any meaningful reform of the industry would have to include small-scale farmers, plans to make ISPO certification mandatory for these smallholders by 2020.The need to do so will only grow more urgent as the number of such operators continues to increase, expanding their share of Indonesia’s oil palm plantation area to 60 percent by 2030.“Independent smallholders are thus critical players for bringing sustainable, conflict-free palm oil into reality,” the World Resources Institute (WRI) said in a recent blog post.However, there are concerns that smallholders, long overlooked by both industry and government for assistance in adopting agricultural best practices, are not ready for ISPO certification.A truck transports recently harvested oil palm fruit, which will be pressed to make palm oil. Photo by John Cannon.Obstacles to certificationThe independent smallholders in question here differ from so-called plasma farmers, who also manage smallholdings but have agreements in place with larger companies that cover support and logistics, and ultimately guarantee that the companies will buy their palm fruit.Independent smallholders, by contrast, typically learn how to manage plantations with no training, no supervision, and limited support from the government. The result, says Arya Hadi Dharmawan, a researcher at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), is “a sad tale” of a large group of farmers for whom obtaining ISPO certification will be difficult.A recent IPB study of small farmers in the three provinces of Jambi, Riau and Central Kalimantan highlighted just how ill-prepared they were to meet the standard. For a start, Arya said, most of these farmers lacked land certificates.Under 2013 government guidelines for plantation licensing, small farmers are required to apply for a plantation registration certificate known as an STD-B, while large-scale producers (those cultivating more than 25 hectares) have to obtain a plantation business license called an IUP-B.The former is a simple land certificate with no requirement to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA), while the latter involves more complex procedures and regulatory requirements, including an EIA. In practice, however, STD-B certificates are rarely issued, Arya found during the study of small farmers in Jambi.“We thought it’d be easy [for these farmers to obtain ISPO certificates] because they’re located in [designated plantation] areas, but it’s not,” he said. They don’t have any papers, he added, and manage their land without formal borders, relying instead on mutual understanding with their neighbors.“As a result, only 1 percent of them have STD-B certificates,” he said.A second obstacle to certification is the farmers’ lack of access to ISPO-compliant fertilizers and seeds. The study found 89 percent of small farmers used lower-cost seedlings that provided smaller yields. Another challenge is the difficulty small farmers face in forming groups in order to have a firmer legal basis from which to operate.These problems all mean no small farmers are truly ready, Arya said, even in regions like Jambi, where they face fewer legal woes because they manage plantations in non-forest areas. In Jambi, he said, small farmers are only about “55 percent ready” to comply with the ISPO.Farmers in other regions are even less prepared, the study suggested. In Riau, Arya found that many farmers were managing plantations inside forest areas — a situation that would make it even harder for them to get the requisite paperwork for the land.“If that’s the case, then it’ll be difficult for these farmers to obtain ISPO certificates,” he said. “The ISPO will surely claim victims in the form of farmers whose plantations are in forest areas.”Elephant, orangutan, and tiger habitat cleared in the Leuser ecosystem for oil palm. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerPlantation to prisonThe government has acknowledged the uphill task it faces ensuring all oil palm growers are certified by 2020.“If we make certification mandatory for all 450,000 households [working as oil palm planters], then maybe our prisons will be full,” said Dedi Junaedi, plantation product director at the Ministry of Agriculture, which is managing the ISPO compliance program.Under the regulation mandating ISPO certification for all farmers, failure to comply is punishable by between three and 10 years in prison, and fines of up to 10 billion rupiah ($700,000).“That’s why we have to be careful,” Dedi said. “Just look at [the study] — the readiness [of small farmers] is still 50 percent.”An Orangutan (Pongo abelii). Orangutans in Indonesia and Malaysia have been highly impacted by oil palm production, bringing a strong organized response from international conservation NGOs and local wildlife activists. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerAcceptability and productivityThe ISPO was introduced by the government in 2011 as a mandatory certification scheme for all oil palm growers in the country, after several big buyers, including Unilever, Nestlé and Burger King, stopped buying palm oil from Indonesia over deforestation concerns.Compared against other certification schemes, primarily the RSPO, the ISPO is largely considered the weakest, as it adheres only to Indonesian laws and regulations, which in some cases are not specific enough and fall short of providing detailed guidance for best practices.A recent report commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe detailed some of the ISPO’s weaknesses, such as lack of traceability, lack of protection for the rights of workers — it doesn’t clearly prohibit the use of force or of child labor — and failure to recognize key instruments on community rights, making it a poor tool for safeguarding the rights of indigenous communities.The government, led by the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, is drafting a presidential regulation to undergird the new ISPO scheme, with new provisions, such as traceability, to address the highlighted weaknesses.Part of these efforts to improve the ISPO is to make it mandatory for smallholders by 2020, so that large corporate consumers that previously claimed ignorance about their suppliers can no longer fall back on that excuse.Ultimately, the idea behind the ISPO is to make Indonesian palm oil and its associated products acceptable on the global market. It also aims to boost the productivity of smallholders, currently a third of that of big growers, by providing small farmers with certification-compliant fertilizers and seeds.“It’s such a shame our farmers lose such a huge potential,” said Musdhalifah Machmud, the coordinating economic minister’s deputy for food and agriculture.The revision of ISPO also dovetails with the government’s replanting program, in which small growers will receive financial aid and technical assistance to shift from less-productive crops to with newer variants with better-quality seeds and fertilizers. The government aims to replant 1,850 square kilometers (714 square miles) of smallholder plantations this year.“If we don’t do that now, our farmers will lose their potential of high productivity in the next 10 years,” Musdhalifah said.The government is concerned that if smallholder productivity remains low, the farmers will expand their plantations to boost output, raising the risk of forest clearing to make way for new land.“Currently, our farmers feel their productivity is low, so they think they need to increase the size of their plantations,” Musdhalifah said.The government expects to finish the revision of the ISPO this year, said Wilistra Danny, Musdalifah’s assistant for plantations.“Starting from a few weeks ago, we’ve started discussing the legal draft,” he said. “We’re hoping that the presidential regulation [on the new ISPO] can be issued this year at the latest. But the process is still long. We still have to discuss it with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, and there’s going to be a harmonization process as well. All these will take quite a long time.”last_img read more

Terminal operators ordered to pay over $3M for breaching consumer laws

first_imgFive terminal operators who breached the Consumer Affairs legislation were ordered to pay up over $3 million each as they colluded to fix prices in an effort to exploit customers.In a statement issued by the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC), the organisation explained that the Commission recently ruled against the Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG) in a price-fixing case in a complaint filed against the SAG by businessman Mahindranauth Jaikarran, owner of JD Transport Services.CCAC Chairman Ronald Burch-SmithJaikarran, who provides haulage service for containers from terminals operated by the members of the SAG, in a 2017 complaint to the Commission accused the SAG of engaging in anti-competitive behaviour by agreeing to fix rates for the haulage of containers from terminals operated by its membership, with the intention of disrupting the natural market flow to the advantage of the SAG.Members involved in the SAG were Muneshwars Ltd, Demerara Shipping Ltd, John Fernandes Ltd, Guyana National Industrial Company Inc and Guyana National Shipping Corporation, the CCAC said.The agency said the matter was heard by the Commission, led by Commission Chairman, Ronald Burch-Smith; Commissioners Rosalie Roberston, SC; and Pradeepa Bholanath, where evidence was provided by both the SAG and Jaikarran.“Evidence presented showed that the terminal operators imposed handling fees for the private haulers which is not charged by the SAG members which gives them “a price advantage vis a vis the private hauler, to the extent of the handling fees,” the Commission expressed.Furthermore it said, “We are satisfied that the 15th July decision of the Shipping Association and adopted by the five terminal operators was an agreement within the meaning of Section 20 of the Consumer Affairs Act. It distorted a competitive environment among terminals for services provided by them to consumers generally, that is to the shipping lines and agents, importers of goods and any person or entity which had the option to exercise choice or influence where their goods were shipped. The private haulers had little choice in this matter, but by imposing the agreed rate on private haulers in a concerted manner distorted competition and gave themselves an unfair and unlawfully implemented advantage.”The members of the SAG were ordered by the Commission to terminate the price-fixing agreement which is reflected the SAG’s memorandum of July 15, 2017 immediately and were each ordered to pay the sum of $3,843,000 within six weeks of the date of the order.“Price-fixing is a conspiracy between business competitors to set their prices to buy or sell goods or services at a certain price point. This benefits all businesses or individuals that are on the same side of the market involved in the conspiracy, as the prices are either set high, stabilised, discounted or fixed”.In a media engagement held earlier this year, the Commission stressed the importance of businesses not agreeing to compete with their competitors in terms of prices.Price-fixing, she explained, poses a major disadvantage to customers who are forced to pay a specific price at all supermarkets in an area, as a price would have been agreed to by the business owners.last_img read more

ATHLETICS: TIR CHONAILL CLUB NOTES

first_img CARA Pharmmacies renew Club SponsorshipCara Pharmacies, dirctors Canice an Romana Nicholas, recently at a vey pleasant presentation function in Bundoran renewed the companies support for Tir Chonaill AC for another year. This progressive company, who have developed a chain of friendly and attractive pharmacies/health care stores across the north west and are a major employer in Donegal Town, Balyshannona and Bundoran continue to identify and support Tir Chonaill athletics club – a club that prides itself on having an open and inclusive community based policy. The club would like to thank Cara Pharmacies and wish them even more develoopmental success in these chaallenging times.Club A.G.M.The rescheduled club AGM will now take place in the Central Hotel Donegal Town on Friday 18th November -8pm start. A special invite goes out to all club members to attend. 2011 has been a most successful year for Tir Chonaill in so many areas. The review of the year will be most interesting. Come along and have your say. PresentationsTraditionally, November, is the month when local, provincial and National awards nights take place. On Friday night of this week two club athletes will be recognised at the Ulster Awards Cermonies in Monaghan.Karl Griffin outstanding achievements in the 800m  on the National and International stages and Kate Mc Gowan’s, Irsh record, in the 80m Hurdles will be applauded and given centre stage. On Saturday night he Athletics Ireland  awards banquet takes place in Dublin. A number of  Donegal individuals have shortlisted ie Ruairi Finnigan, Youth athlete of the Year, Mark English, Junior athlete of the year and Teresa McDaid, Coach of the year, Neighbours  Finn Valley are one of three clubs shortlisted for club of the year. Hopefully all will be successful. As we in Tir Chonaill will recall with pride the positive feel good factor experienced three years ago when our club group led by Paddy Donoghue on the night accepted club of the year.Locally the club sub committee are busy organising the 2011 annual club awards night while the Donegal Co Board awards night takes place on Friday 13th January in the Finn Valley Centre.Warm weather training Forty two club athletes/coaches/members will depart from Belfast at 6am on the 31st December for the now annual warm weather training camp in the Algarve. Final payments will be collected within the next ten days. Bernie O’CallaghanAt 3pm, on Saturday 19th November, the Clock Tower in Fintragh, Killybegs, is the venue for the launch of an in depth book on the history ofDonegal Athletics. The author Bernie O’Callaghan, has spent years researching this massive 532 pages publication and has put together a publication that traces the sport from the late 1950’s when the late Michael Cooney led St John Bosco became the first registered and competitive club in Co. Donegal through the setting up of the county board, to National, International and Olymic achievements and representations. The book contains hundreds of photographs, facts, details of Co.Championship and records and much, much more. Congratulations to Bernie on publishing this valuable piece of research. Numerous Tir Chonaill athletes and team achievements are recalled and recognised and names and faces such as Wilson, McBrearty, Breslin, Ritchie, O’Halloran,Lorenynko,Gallagher,Stewart,McLoone etc all  jump from the pages.Congratulatons to Bernie on publishing this valuable piece of research.’Footprints in the Sands of Time -The story of Donegal Athletics  1959 2009 by Bernie O’Callaghan costs €20 an is must for all Donegal sports enthusiasts and followers.PICTURE: Cara Pharmacies Directors, Romona and Canice Nicholas, present Tir Chonaill representatives’ Paddy Donoghue and Chairman Paul O’Gara with annual sponsorship at a recent function in Bundoran.The photograph also includes Tir Chonaill members and Cara Pharmacy StafEamon HarveyATHLETICS: TIR CHONAILL CLUB NOTES was last modified: November 9th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ATHLETICS: TIR CHONAILL CLUB NOTES Ulster Athletics Northern Ireland Juvenile Championships (Part 2)Barnett’s Demesne, in the spacious Queens University Grounds, was the venue on Saturday last for Part 2 of the ‘Ulster/Northern Ireland Juvenile Championships’.Tir Chonaill athletes competing for individual, inter club/county medals and qualification for the All Ireland Cross Country Championships put in a number of outstanding performances in trying and contrasting conditions – underfoot the athletes were in ankle deep mud for most of the various loops while the sun shone like a glorious day in summer.Daniel Gallagher, from Dunkineely, burst onto the scene last year when he won the Under 14 Ulster and All Ireland Schools Cross Country titles. In the U15 3.5k race, he battled bravely and shared the lead with Jonathon Whan, City of Lisburn, and Peter Gibbons, Letterkenny until the final 600m when Gibbons increased the pace to go on to win impressively from Whan with Daniel an excellent 3rd.Mark Boyle, from Frosses, recovered from an aggressive start that found him face down in the mud after 30metres, to come home 17th while Inver’s Christopher O”Loughlan,better known as a sprinter, wa also happy filling 32nd position.Mark McGuinness, Dunkineely, was an impressive winner of the U18 provincial title three weeks ago in Killybegs.On Saturday,he found the mud very difficult to negotiate but never the less battled bravely for a 6th place finish. He was supported in the the U17, 4.5k race by Karl Griffin, Donegal Town, 23rd, Sean Kerrs, Frosses, 30th, and Joe Morrow, Tullaghan, 46th for a  points total of 105pts and 5th team finish.The Girls U15 3k had good performances from Eva Mc Mullin, Ballyshannon, 58th, Niamh McGrory, Donegal, 66th and Ciara Crawford, Frosses, 69th. Congrats and well done to all and thanks to Coaches/Parents Paul and Mary Crawford, Carmel McGuiness, Brenda Morris, Michelle/Eamon Harvey who travelled to support and encourage all.last_img read more